[Tweeters] Birding dollars and cents

Georgia Conti Georgia.Conti at Seattle.Gov
Mon Dec 27 11:53:58 PST 2004


I, too, would like to add few comments about the economic impact of
birding...

In June, five of us traveled to the Kotzebue, Alaska, area to bird. 
Everyone there instantly knew we were not local people and we were
birders - our equipment gave us away.  Word had spread that we were
"tourists", came "to see the birds", and thanks to Sam Woods'
terminology "were the bird nerds".  While many of Deering's residents
chuckled over our interest in little birds (that are only good for song
and soup), they were keenly aware that they live in an area of interest
to Lower 48 birders.  In fact, the members of the village council asked
me to write a letter to them detailing our experience and to lay out
issues should they want to promote their cliffs and inland habitat to
the world of birders.  We couldn't buy much in Deering - they have no
store or hotel - though we spent money on 4-wheel rentals and brought
fresh fruit as gifts.  In Kotzebue, vendors (hotel, grocery store, white
gas supplier, air charters, etc.) were well aware that we were spending
money to bird, not as tourists who merely wanted to tell friends back
home that they'd been to the Arctic Circle.  

On our return flight that stopped in Nome, we heard many comments about
our being birders.  Several people noted our spotting scopes going in
the overhead compartments and asked if we'd been in the Nome area to
bird.  When we told them we'd been in the Kotzebue area, they encouraged
us to come to Nome where a lot of birders visit.  Clearly residents of
Nome are aware of the influx of birder's dollars to the local economy. 


Georgia Conti
Seattle, WA  

>>> <SGMlod at aol.com> 12/25/04 01:59PM >>>
Greetings All

Wilson is correct. Expose yourself. Wear your bins into stores. I'll
tell you 
that the folks running the store on the hwy in Washtucna are quite
aware of 
birders. I'm sure that makes Washtucna a friendlier place. 

Interestingly, in Fields, OR, birders have a huge economic impact, and
our 
wandering around the houses is well accepted. I dropped down to Denio,
Nevada, 
this fall. Not far away, but a place where birders rarely go (but
providing us 
with a nice Chestnut-sided Warbler), and we were almost chased off at 
gunpoint. 

If we are polite, if we are obvious to local merchants (wearing bins
into 
stores, instead of sheepishly hiding our activity), we will start to
have an 
increasingly positive impact.

Cheers
Steven Mlodinow


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